Are you prepared for this rapidly approaching day?

January 31, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
(Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV))

What did the Disciples do when Jesus was crucified?

They gathered together. They prayed. They fellow shipped with each other.

What did the Disciples do when Jesus was resurrected?

They gathered together. They prayed. They fellow shipped with each other.

What happened when the Holy Spirit came upon the church at Pentecost?

They gathered together. They prayed. They fellow shipped with each other.

What happened when the early church was persecuted?

They gathered together. They prayed. They fellow shipped with each other.

Are you seeing a trend in what the Body of Christ is called to do? We cannot face this sinful world on our own, even if we profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. We are called to meet with other believers. We are called to encourage one another. We are to spur each other on toward love and good deeds. The early church took this seriously. Today, we don’t gather together because we would rather sleep in, or the weather is too bad, or we just don’t feel like it. What will the church look like, not if, but when we face persecution? What will the Body of Christ be like? Will we see a great falling away, or will we see a faith like that shown when our ancestors in the faith were fed to the lions?

We read Daniel, Ezekiel and Revelation and think that these events are long in the future. Are they? Many are saying that things are unfolding in this world very similarly to what these prophetic passages have recorded. If you have professed a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then you have a responsibility to put on the full armor of God. You have a responsibility to prepare yourself so that you can recognize the attacks of the enemy. You have a responsibility to spur one another on and to encourage one another to stand firm in the faith. Salvation was not just offered to you. It was offered to all who will receive. All who accept have become adopted sons and daughters of God. We are a family, and contrary to the terminology used today, this family is not dysfunctional. The day is coming when we will meet Jesus in the air!

Are you prepared for this rapidly approaching day?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you forgotten how to follow this command?

January 24, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
(John 13:34 (NIV))

Let’s take a look at how Jesus loved when He walked this earth so that we can better understand how we are to love each other.

Jesus called people to repent, to turn from their selfish, sinful natures. He did this out of compassion for those caught in sin and the consequences of sin. He did not antagonize or mock sinners. He called to them out of a true love, a true desire to see them come to a saving knowledge of Him. He loved people because that is why He came!

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

It is true that Jesus did get angry, but His anger was only manifested when God’s Temple was defiled or the religious leaders were making a mockery out of what God had intended. His anger was never focused on those whom He came to save. In fact, even in His anger, I think that it is safe to say that, just as a father’s heart breaks when his children misbehave, His heart broke for those who were doing the things that caused His anger.

Even in our darkest moments, He loves us!

Can we say that of each other? Can we love each other as Jesus loves us? Loving each other is part of loving God! It is part of our calling!

Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.
(1 John 4:20 (NIV))

Jesus has commanded that we love one another.

Have you forgotten how to follow this command?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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How are you at treating each other with love?

January 20, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
(Matthew 7:12 (NIV))

Do you like it when others mistreat you?

I realize that this question is one that appears to have an obvious answer, still we often treat others in ways that we would never want to be treated ourselves. I believe that this is rooted in the fall from grace. Humanity was lied to and told that we could be like God, so now we apply the power without the compassion. We apply the authority without the understanding, and we provide the condemnation without the love. Human nature wants to do exactly the opposite of what God calls us to do. We have a tendency to place ourselves above everyone else, and because of this, we mistreat each other because we think that we are better than they are.

Wrong attitude!

We are no better than anyone else.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

No matter what you may think of yourself, God sees the real you. He knows all of your sinful past, yet He loves you anyway. When He looks at humanity, He sees a sea of sinful, fallen people who all need a savior. He does not see certain people as better than others. He doesn’t treat anyone differently. What He does do is provide an opportunity of redemption to all who will simply profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. Once this happens, He sees you as a redeemed child, but that redemption is nothing that should make us feel superior to anyone else. All that it means is in the sea of sinful, drowning people, we have gotten on the life boat. We should be reaching out to others offering to help them receive what we have received. We must show them the same compassion, understanding and love that we were shown as we found our salvation.

I want to challenge you to look at your actions during the next twenty-four hours. Pray to have your eyes opened to the instances where you treat others in a way that you would not want to be treated. Pray to be able to show God’s love in those situations instead of your shortcomings. I want you to also pray for those who mistreat you, for they may not realize what they do. It is said that it is hard to hate someone when you are praying for them. I think that we can also safely say that it is hard to mistreat someone when you are praying for them.

How are you at treating each other with love?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Is your faith strong enough for this?

January 16, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
(Matthew 5:44 (NIV))

This goes against everything that our sinful human nature desires!

We instinctively only love those who love us in return. We only want to pray for those whom we love, yet, we are called to break with our sinful human nature and do what we don’t desire to do.

Have you ever stopped to reflect on why we are called to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us? Perhaps the answer is so simple that we don’t want to see it.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

If you have come to the realization that our enemies are part of the world that God loves, then you begin to understand why we are called to love our enemies. God loves them just as He loves you and I. In fact, the only difference in God’s eyes are whether they have accepted the gift of grace freely given through the cross. The cross is the ultimate example of love.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
(Romans 5:8 (NIV))

If you stop to consider that you were once an enemy of God, then you realize that God showed you love when you were His enemy. As the Body of Christ, we are called to do the very same thing. We are called to show love to those who are our enemies, for it is through love and prayer that an enemy is lost and a friend is won. This takes a faith that goes far beyond what our sinful human nature can comprehend. It takes a faith firmly grounded in God’s word and in His promises. It takes a faith strong enough to realize that through God’s love anything is possible, even turning an enemy into a brother or sister in Christ! Do you possess a faith strong enough to surrender to God’s Will as He calls you to embrace your enemies with love?

Today’s society is uncertain. Evil is called good and good is called evil. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but we do know one thing – Jesus will come again! When He walked the earth, He called people to repent. He called them to this action out of love. If you have professed a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then you have shown a faith strong enough to accept that gift. Now, we are called to show a faith strong enough to share that gift even with our enemies.

Is your faith strong enough for this?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do your deeds glorify God?

January 11, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
(Matthew 5:16 (NIV))

How good are you at letting your light shine?

Let me rephrase that question and ask it like this.

Do others see Jesus in everything that you do?

Several years ago there was a big movement with WWJD – What Would Jesus Do? You would see wristbands and stickers and many other things with this prominently displayed. This did quite a lot in regard to reminding people how to act if they wanted to truly follow Jesus. I also think that this was also used by the enemy to trick believers into being submissive out of “love” when they saw something that was not right in the eyes of God. My favorite thing that I saw that someone created to clarify this statement reminded people that at one point Jesus fashioned a whip and turned over the tables of the money changers.

Does this sound like the type of “love” that the enemy has tricked us into believing about Jesus?

Jesus was compassionate toward the people lost in their sin as He encountered them, but He was also extremely passionate about the Father. He would never do anything that was contrary to what the Father instructed. He would never do anything contrary to God’s Word. His compassion for people, for us, was never to affirm them in their sin. It was to call them home to a loving Father. He was calling sinners to repent and return to the Father through Him!

With that in mind, I venture to say that there will be times when we are called to let our light shine and it will actually mean that we will be filled with the righteous passion for the Father and for His Word that made Jesus turn over tables.

Are you willing to take a stand for what is right in the eyes of the Father? Are you willing to make a public profession that you do not agree with the sinful practices that are being done? Sometimes shining your light means that you are to go into battle against the darkness and not simply try to make friends with it.

If Jesus said that only the Father is good, then in order to do good deeds, we must point people to the only one who is good. Our deeds must point to Jesus as the only way to the Father! That is how we glorify God.

Do your deeds glorify God?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Don’t forget the true meaning of Christmas!

December 21, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

I realize that I used this passage yesterday, but it is such a wonderful and truthful passage of grace, hope and love. It is one in which God sent His Son to redeem the world.

He first proclaimed this great news to shepherds.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
(Luke 2:8-14 (NIV))

As time progressed, Jesus fulfilled God’s purpose for His time on earth! It is such a simple, yet profound plan. God’s plan is based on love and restoration of a sinful, fallen creation.

Nothing is left to say, except one critical statement.

Don’t forget the true meaning of Christmas!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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There are promises still to come!

December 15, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations;
     I will sing of you among the peoples.
For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
     your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
     let your glory be over all the earth.
(Psalms 57:9-11 (NIV))

I realize that I have posted this before, but truth is something that needs to be repeated!

The Psalmist spoke truth and wisdom when these words where written. What was true then is still very true today.

In this Christmas season, we are constantly reminded of how great God’s love for us is. Celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ is a constant reminder of God’s love. God is faithful in keeping His Word. All throughout the Old Testament, God promised to send a Savior to reconcile man with Himself. In this season, we are witness to the promise kept. It is a yearly celebration of that promise. At the same time, we must keep our eyes focused on the other promises of God, especially the one that says that Jesus will come again.

In this holy season of new birth, we must not forget that Jesus grew up and died on the cross, was resurrected and will come again.

Christmas is only the beginning of God’s promise and not the culmination.

Do you look forward to God’s promises?

There are promises still to come!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Can the world tell that you are a disciple of Jesus?

December 12, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
(Galatians 3:26-28 (NIV))

This merits repeating!

This may sound like a silly question, but what is it that we celebrate at Christmas?

Is it the denominational differences that we, humanity, have placed as barriers between ourselves? Is it how we profess our faith? Is it how we sing praises? Is it the color of the skin of the congregation?

Or is it the birth of Jesus?

I often wonder what Jesus would say of He were to come to earth and give us a report card update on how we are doing? Would he commend us or condemn us?

Personally, I believe that we would most likely get a mixed review. One in which we would receive severe judgment for the way that we have allowed the Gospel to be removed from society. I believe that we would be held accountable for the way that we still segregate the Body of Christ I believe that we would also be held accountable for not doing enough to share the Gospel, for it is a gift to everyone, and not just those who look, act and think like us.

It is for Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female.

In other words, it is for those who may not be like you. It is also for those who may be just like you. Think about that last statement. I know that if I found someone “just like me,” I would pray for them continuously, for I know the sins that they would be fighting.

We, as the Body of Christ, come from many different backgrounds. We must prevent these differences from separating us from the rest of the Body of Christ, and from Jesus. We come from many different traditions. Traditions are a funny thing. A tradition is simply a routine way of doing something. They are man-made and must not get in our way of rejoicing with each other about the birth of Jesus.

I once heard someone tell a story about a young bride who, after getting married, wanted to cook a pot roast for her husband. She bought the needed pot and the roast. She then called her mother to get instructions. After listening to her mother, she asked a very serious question. “Why did you always cut off the end of the roast? I want to do it exactly like you.” Her mother’s response was that she cut the roast because her pot was too small. It appears that not all traditions are ones that we need to continue.

Since we are all one in Christ Jesus, what “traditions” do we allow to keep us separated? If we are all sons of God through faith in Christ, why do we often treat our brothers and sisters like we do? I can hear some of you thinking that this is what brothers and sisters do. I honestly hope that the Body of Christ does not act like natural brothers and sisters. We should show the world a different side.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
(John 13:34-35 (NIV))

Can the world tell that you are a disciple of Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Jesus alone is the way and the truth and the life!

December 9, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
(John 14:6 (NIV))

When you think of scripture passages that tell of Christmas, do you think of this passage?

To be honest with you, I hadn’t thought of this passage in that context, but then I realized that in order for us to go through Jesus to the Father, He first had to come to us from the Father.

EVERYTHING is contingent upon the birth of Jesus!

Contrary to what society says, without the birth of Jesus we would not know the possibility of salvation. We would not know life to the fullest. We would not know miracles, and we definitely would not know of God’s great love for us.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

If you put things in perspective, everything written in God’s Word before the birth of Jesus is written to point to His birth. Everything written after His birth would not have happened or will happen if His birth had never taken place. If you look at God’s Word from this perspective, everything in God’s Word is a Christmas story! We celebrate the birth of Jesus by continuing a tradition started by the wise men who came bearing gifts. We can’t give them directly to Jesus, but we give them to celebrate what He gave us – salvation, grace and mercy!

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
(Acts 4:12 (NIV))

No other name!

Jesus alone is the way and the truth and the life!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you humble yourself and bow to the Lord?

December 2, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.
(Psalms 138:2 (NIV))

Awe and reverence!

Two characteristics that clearly manifest themselves in people who truly understand God’s power, majesty, grace, mercy and love. How can anyone who truly understands these godly traits do anything except bow down and praise God for what He has done?

No one else is capable of doing what God has done. Only God could have offered us grace and mercy that is eternal. Only God could have sent His Son to be an atoning sacrifice for our iniquities.

We did not ask Him to do it. He volunteered to do it because of His great love for us! How can we do any less that bow down and praise Him for what He has done, after all, He did not have to do any of it, for He is God. No one forces Him to do anything. No one can ever say that God has done something that goes against His very nature. If God cannot do anything that goes against His nature and He sent us Jesus to be our atoning sacrifice for our sins, then we have a Creator who truly loves us in spite of ourselves.

Have you bowed down in reverence and respect before God lately? Have you praised God for all that He has done for you? Have you actually thought about the grace and mercy that was freely given to you at the cost of God’s only Son, Jesus Christ?

Do you humble yourself and bow to the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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